My Journey from Academia to Industry: Systems Group Lead at Lumenisity

Tell us about your background in Academia

My journey in R&D started in 2008, when I was awarded a one-year scholarship to carry out research in an optical communications laboratory. I worked on novel light sources for high-speed optical links and their integration in optical networks. My work during this period allowed me to gain a deep understanding and interest in various aspects of optics and their use and integration in modern communication systems.

Keen to learn more about the topic, I undertook another one-year research project on techniques enabling the expansion of transmission capacities for optical communication systems. It was at this point that it became clear to me that R&D in optical communication systems was the direction that I wanted to follow for my career, as it involved work and specialization in various technical fields such as physics, software engineering, optics, signal processing, RF engineering, mathematics, and digital as well as analogue electronics.

After completing my second research project, I was awarded a four-year scholarship to accomplish my PhD. This was a very challenging yet fascinating period of my life as I was constantly learning new things and was responsible for seeing the transformation of ideas into their theoretical inception, all the way to their experimental implementation and validation.  

Following my PhD studies, I decided to continue working in academia as a Postdoctoral Researcher and did so for three years in two leading laboratories. During these three years, I had the chance to work on technical topics such as 5G technologies, design of novel high-speed optical transponders for access/metro and long-haul networks, disaggregated optical based computing systems, novel optical fibers and their integration in transmission networks, optical network design and simulations, FPGAs and simulation of optical networks and systems. I was also involved with supervising PhD students, managing research projects, writing up proposals for research grants, and some teaching.

Joining Lumenisity

Upon completing my third year as a Postdoctoral Researcher, I made the move to industry and joined Lumenisity in 2018. The main driving factor that allowed me to make this decision was the realization that R&D in the industry creates a great potential for ideas as well as theories to transform into solutions in the form of actual employable products. Knowing that my work would be helpful in the realization or improvement of a product that will be used to enhance the lives of others is a satisfaction I didn’t see materializing easily in academia. Other driving factors for my move were the importance of teamwork in the industry and the potential it creates in working and learning from people from widely different technical backgrounds.

At Lumenisity, I currently oversee activities that relate to data transmission over our hollowcore technology and my role is attaining and relaying a detailed insight into product performance in conjunction with its main application, which is high-speed optical data communications. These insights enable both us and our customers to evaluate the applicability of Lumenisity’s solutions for particular use cases and deployments planned for the near and long term. 

My advice to other researchers thinking of making the move to industry is that they should carefully examine their aspirations and goals for wanting to work either in academia or industry and evaluate how likely it is that they can achieve them within a specific time frame. If they decide to move to the industry, then I advise on joining innovative companies like Lumenisity which place a great emphasis on R&D.